“We expect to have around 500,000 people working for us long-term,” Winterkorn told industry paper Automotive News Europe on Saturday. The company, Europe’s largest carmaker, currently employs around 435,000 people.
This year alone, VW intends to take on 7,500 high school graduates, Winterkorn added. “We have win the top people. That’s also why I’m worried about the lack of engineers in Germany.”
But the CEO also warned that the number would not go significantly over half a million, because VW also wants to “make progress in areas of productivity.”
The company’s 2011 target is to sell eight million cars, which would increase VW’s global market share above 12 percent. For the first time in its history, VW has just broken the six-million mark for the first three quarters of a year, increasing sales by 13.9 percent compared to the same period last year.
Sales in China are particularly strong, and VW has already overtaken Toyota to become the second biggest carmaker worldwide.
If it meets its targets through to 2018, the firm will replace its US rival General Motors as the world’s biggest car manufacturer.